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Sunday, 24 July 2005


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This is a copy of the e-mail from Abid Hussain:

Hi David

Hope you are well.

Many thanks for taking time out to email me. I'm delighted that the Business newspaper printed my letter, I've always read the paper to help me manage my financial portfolio, never did I think I would write to them on the topic of Islamic theology but such are the times we live in today.

I've read your blog with interest, there are lots of interesting and
fascinating points you make.

As a muslim who was born in the UK I feel I have an excellent balance
between my religion and my day to day life as a British citizen.

I struggled less to find my British identity which includes a passion for
football, fish and chips and Cadburys chocolate than I had initially to find my Islamic identity.

The purpose of my letter was to rebalance the arguments around the whole notion of wahhabi fuelled hatred, wars and extremism.

As a muslim who searched for his identity in the UK I have found it to be
the one school of thought that does not require blind allegiance to specific imams or scholars. We accept and acknowledge that as humans we have flaws as do our scholars. If a scholar issues a ruling we do not accept it based on his fame or influence but on the strength of his research and evidence.

The Islamic evidence rejects suicide bombing, rejects the killing of
innocent people and rejects what we have so tragically witnessed in London over the last few weeks.

The biggest challenge that has faced Islam in recent years has not been
western policy, it has not been Israel and it has not been the influence
achieved due to large reserves of oil. These are all great challenges but
the main problem has been the emergence of a number of schisms within the religion itself. The emergence of new schools of thought and intepretation that are moving away from the fundamentals of the faith and resulting in new brands of Islam from the liberal left to the extremist right both equally dangerous.

Much has been made of the emergence of the Saudi intepretation of Islam, this was not a radical response to sinister western policy it was a response and a rise against the spread of new innovations in the religion from within such as idol worship and veneration of saints in Islamic society that were not part of the teachings outlined in the Quran or the teachings of the Prophet Muhammed pbuh.

The Islamic message brought by Abdul Wahhab who lead the campaign that ultimately resulted in the modern day Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was no new fangled concept, it merely returned to the foundations of the religion, the call to worship of one god and to reject the intermediaries that had been set up during his time.

The Taleban from a religious perspective were much more influenced by Sub contintental interpretations of Islam than a Saudi interpretation and I say this as a muslim of Pakistani descent.

Did Saudi money flow into Afghanistan, most probably yes but so did American and British Arms. What certainly did not flow into the Taleban regime was a Saudi interpretation of religion.

How we solve the increasingly fractured relationship between the Islamic world and the west is far more complicated, it requires the addressing of the Palestinian issue, it requires better handling of a post Saddam Iraq but most of all it needs better understanding of the faith and a response based on this as oppossed to a haphazard interventionist policy that gave us Saddam, Osama and many others in the first place.

Happy to contribute to the debate further, but just my initial thoughts on
your blog that raised soo many interesting and conversation stimulating

One bit that was not included in my letter was a link to the following site

This site will give readers an alternative perspective which they are open to agree with or differ on.

All the best


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